Wedding Woes

My night terrors are (maybe) terrorizing my neighbor

Dear Prudence,
I recently moved into an apartment complex with thin walls. The one neighbor I share a wall with has been very respectful and quiet. The problem is actually me. I am prone to night terrors, and about every two or three months I wake up in the middle of the night, pacing, yelling, and crying. It’s hard to say exactly what causes them but I try to eat healthy and maintain my stress levels, which seems to minimize the frequency of these episodes. However, I am in a doctoral program, which means I can’t always avoid stress, and I’m pretty sure my most recent episode, where I awoke loudly sobbing in my living room probably woke my neighbor also. Do I owe it to my neighbor, who I’ve only said “hello” to by the mailboxes a few times, to provide an explanation of why I sometimes wake them up with what probably sounds like a murder scene? Or do I just go on with my life and wait for them to approach me if anything weirds them out? I feel like it’s just too odd a situation to expect them to ever ask me about it, which would just label me as the residential lunatic. What should I do about this?

—Night Terror-ble Neighbor

Re: My night terrors are (maybe) terrorizing my neighbor

  • OliveOilsMomOliveOilsMom South Jersey member
    Tenth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers

    I wouldn't say anything unless its brought up to me.  It's not a regular occurrence, so I think LW just needs to cut him/herself a break on this.

    If LW is truly worried, perhaps they can speak to their doctor about the night terrors.  They may be able to start getting to the bottom of why they occur better than LW.

  • My thought is 2 options
    - wait until neighbour says something {I would, just to see if person is okay}
    - state to them "hey sorry if I wake/bother you, this is what's happening. I'm not sure cause yet but it could be stress due to my school program. I know it likely sounds strange."
  • bleve0821bleve0821 The Shire member
    1000 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary First Answer
    I might actually recommend saying something. If I heard my neighbors yelling, screaming, crying, etc. I might think something was terribly wrong and call the police. A heads up to the neighbor who shares the wall that you're not in mortal danger might not be a bad idea, and might keep police from knocking on the door. 
    This, 100%.  Reassuring your neighbors that you are not, in fact, in danger or in any kind of trouble, especially when you are sure that your reaction to your infrequent night terrors wakes others up, would not be the worst thing to do.  It might be a little uncomfortable, but it would save some extreme embarrassment for multiple parties down the road.

    If I heard someone screaming in the middle of the night, I would be inclined to call 911.

    "And when they use our atoms to make new lives, they won’t just be able to take one, they’ll have to take two, one of you and one of me..."
    --Philip Pullman

  • But what if something did end up happening and the neighbor dismissed it thinking it was another night terror?
    I wonder if OP has talked to the doctor, I know there are some medications that help with this.
  • The tenant for my personal duplex suffers from night terrors and she warned me about it shortly after they moved in.  There is fortunately a lot of noise suppression between the two units, but there was one night when we heard concerning noises.  However, since she had told me about her night terrors, we just assumed that's what it was.  And it was.  We were glad to not have been faced with "should we or shouldn't we" call the police.

    Though @justsie makes a good point.

    Wedding Countdown Ticker
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